Bière de Garde

  • ABV: 7.7%   
  • IBU: 18   
  • SRM: 8

A French farmhouse ale. Earthy, smooth with a heavy hitting ABV

and low bitterness/hop presence. Traditionally a lager, done here as an ale

to bring out a malt-forward attitude.

Recipe Goals:  To provide consumers with a traditional, historic feeling farmhouse ale. This Bier de Garde is on the higher side of the ABV scale than others. It also is fermented like an ale as opposed to lagered and so has more flavor and aroma than others have. It uses a combination of refined pale malts, wheat, rice and milk sugar for an earthy farmhouse feel.


There are 3 types of Bier de Garde brown, the blond, and the amber. This version is a blonde. Attenuation rates are in the 80-85% range. This has medium body, some fuller-bodied examples exist, but these are somewhat rare.  Related to the Belgian Saison style, but Bière de Garde is rounder, richer, malt-focused, and lacks the spicy, bitter character of a Saison.

Tasting Notes:   

A fairly strong, malty ale a smooth character. Aroma: Prominent malty sweetness, often with a complex, light to moderate intensity toasty-bready-rich malt character. Little to no hop aroma. Stronger versions may have a light, spicy alcohol note as it warms. Clarity is brilliant to fair. Well-formed head, average persistence. Flavor: Medium to high malt flavor often with a toasty-rich, biscuity, toffee-like or light caramel-sweet character. Medium-low hop bitterness provides some support, but the balance is always stilted toward the malt. Aftertaste of malt with some dryness and light alcohol. Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-light body, often with a smooth, creamy-silky character. Moderate to high carbonation. Moderate alcohol warming.

History:  Name literally means “beer which has been kept or lagered.” A traditional artisanal ale from Northern France brewed in early spring and kept in cold cellars for consumption in warmer weather. It is now brewed year-round. Base malts vary by beer color, but usually include pale, Vienna and Munich types. Darker versions will have richer malt complexity and sweetness from crystal-type malts. Sugar may be used to add flavor and aid in the dry finish. Lager or ale yeast fermented at cool ale temperatures, followed by long cold conditioning. Floral, herbal or spicy continental hops.

Ingredients: Malts- Vienna, Munich, Wheat, Rice, Caramel 10L, Victory, Milk Sugar. Hops- Magnum, Fuggles. Yeast- French Saison and US-05.  

Food Pair:  Bière de garde loves herbs. It pairs superbly with foods seasoned with rosemary, thyme, parsley, marjoram, and the like. A French provincial beer, bière de garde is perfect with French provincial cuisine. Try it with cassoulet, herbed lamb, or a sautéed chicken with rosemary, mushrooms and garlic. It’s great with a simple roasted chicken.

Vital Statistics:           BJCP Belgian & French Ale (24) – Bière de Garde (24C)

For Style                      ABV: 6.0 – 8.5%           IBUs: 18 – 28               SRM: 6 – 19

Kemosabe                   ABV: 7.7%                    IBU: 18                         SRM: 8

ABV is Alcohol by Volume. Listed as a percentage volume. Average commercial beer ABV = 4.2%

IBU is International Bitterness Units. Measures bittering chemicals ranges from 0-120, but most beers are from 15-80.

SRM is Standard Reference Method. Measure of color. Scale of 0-40. From yellow, to amber/gold, to brown, to black.

Commercial Examples:    Ch’Ti (brown and blond), Jenlain (amber and blond), La Choulette (all 3 versions), St. Amand (brown), Saint Sylvestre 3 Monts (blond), Russian River Perdition

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